First marathon is in the books!

I still am on a high from completing my first marathon 2 days ago. I ran the Chicago marathon, a race that I’ve been wanting to run for at least 5 years now! I actually signed up and trained to run 2 years ago, but ended up being way too stressed and having some Achilles pain and didn’t end up running it (still kicking myself for that!)

To be honest, I didn’t feel at all ready for the race. I missed a couple long runs and quite a few mid-week runs. I felt awful during my 18 mile and 20 mile runs and ended up having to walk a lot during both of them. Granted, the 20 miler was extremely hot and humid. But I still doubted my ability to run the whole time during the marathon.

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At the marathon expo the day before the race

Luckily, I woke up on race day and it was cloudy and 60 degrees! I was so happy because I was fearing an 80 degree and sunny day, which can often happen in October in Chicago. There was a high chance of rain and thunderstorms, but I was just so relieved it wasn’t hot out. I woke up at 5am and ate the breakfast I had prepped the night before- overnight oats with blueberries! I heated it up, added a little peanut butter (not too much because I wanted to be consuming mostly carbs) and drank water while eating. I put on the outfit I layed out the night before, double (okay, triple) checked I had everything in my gear bag, and was ready to go! I ordered a Lyft to get me to the CARA gear check, but unfortunately it said the driver wouldn’t arrive for 20 minutes! So I put away some laundry to get out some nervous energy. Anyways, the driver ended up dropping me off at the wrong spot, so I actually had to take a bus and then walk to the check in–thank god I left early enough! I still had time to gear check, drink gatorade, pee twice, and mentally prepare for the marathon. Around 7:30am, I started heading over to the start line! I should have expected this, but there were so. many. people. It was packed! Luckily I got into my start corral in plenty of time, adjusted everything in my Flip belt, and just had to wait. I met a nice girl in my corral while we were both marveling at the barefoot runner ahead of us–seriously how do people do that?! It was so nice to chat with someone before the race and helped soothe my nerves.

About 8 minutes after the race started (about 8:08am), I was off and running! I decided I was going to run conservatively. I really wanted to run the entire time, and I knew if I went too fast in the beginning, I would lose all steam (like during my 20 miler). I kept checking in with myself to make sure I was running a steady and sustainable pace. Even though it was wet and rainy out (it started really downpouring around miles 6-10), once I was running, I hardly noticed! The energy of the city was truly amazing and every single spectator made all the difference. Seeing my parents and a lot of my friends cheering for me was SO awesome and totally kept me going. Knowing I had someone I knew coming up helped me get to that next mile.

The race went by really well until mile 21 or so. My feet, legs, and back were starting to hurt and I was running out of steam. At that point I was totally focused on just getting to the next mile. I wouldn’t even let myself think about mile 26, it was all about mile 22, and so on.But I hadn’t stopped at all- not even at the water/Gatorade stops, I kept running while going through, so I knew I could run the whole thing. I thought about Julia cheering for me and being so proud of me for doing this. I know a lot of people run marathons without raising money for a charity, but doing that made a big difference for me and gave my run more purpose. I listened to my music intently and focused on the goal. I knew I was slowing down, but I didn’t care- I told myself to just keep running. Once I got to mile 25, I knew I could do it! Only a little over a mile left! But seeing the 400m sign was a huge relief- especially since at that point, we were going up the steepest hill of the race (it’s Chicago though, there are very few hills, so it probably wasn’t actually that steep). But after turning the corner of the hill, the finish line was in sight and tears formed in my eyes. With a huge smile on my face, I was able to find a last bit of energy and power through. What a feeling!!! I actually ran a marathon.

I still can’t believe I did it. I keep thinking back to the crowds, the city, and reliving every moment. Running the marathon was an absolutely amazing experience that I know I will treasure forever. You never forget your first marathon, and I am so happy that mine went the way it did! Not my fastest run by any means, but that’s why they say “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” I am not totally sure when my next marathon will be, but I know there will be more in my future!

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Running the marathon! Totally soaked from getting rained on

Last Week’s Struggles = Motivation for This Week’s Success

So, to say that last week was not ideal is an understatement. I missed TWO runs in my marathon training, including my long 12 mile training run. It was week 5, and the first week I missed a run. I’m pretty disappointed in myself, but I’m still 13 weeks out from the marathon, so I think I have time to recommit and get back on track.

I think it’s true what they say–never miss a Monday. Last Monday was the 4th of July, and I was extremely hungover from a party I went to the night before. Had a horrible stomach ache/ head ache and honestly really couldn’t get off the couch all day. That day really messed me up and I was completely EXHAUSTED the rest of the week and couldn’t get up for my 5:30am alarms to run. If I didn’t live in South Florida, I probably could have gotten my runs in later in the day/in the evening, but it is over 95 degrees here with almost 100% humidity. It’s just not possible for me to run in those conditions…maybe 3 miles, but definitely not 12.

Now I’m definitely mad at myself for messing up last week, but at the same time, I’m 25 and had a fun 4th of July with friends. Yes, I should have been more responsible, but I still have to live. However, for the rest of this training, I’m really going to commit to healthy lifestyle. Which is going to mean no more than 2-3 drinks a night. Because I can’t feel like I did last week, I need to stay motivated and focused. My long run last week was supposed to be 12 miles and this week’s is 9 (decrease in mileage), so I think I’m just going to do the 12 mile and move onto 14 miles for the next week.

I also feel like I need to re-train my body to go to bed early and wake up early. Waking up has been impossible lately. I “went” to bed at 9:30pm last night and didn’t actually fall asleep until 11:30pm! I just got a Jawbone and am using it to track my sleep (among other things) and really like it. Hopefully it’ll give me more insight.

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I picked the Jawbone mainly for the design–it goes with my style the best so I felt like I would actually wear it! I think it’s good for working in a professional setting. It’s also supposed to be really good for tracking sleep so that’s another plus. If you have a Jawbone and want to be friends, let me know and I’ll add you! I only know 2 people who have them.

So, this is where I’m at right now. Re-setting for this week and recommitting. It’s never to late to fix a mistake!